ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
Last week, we told you about the oil company - BP's has plan to expand its refinery Whiting, Indiana. That plan would increase the amount of pollution the plant discharges into Lake Michigan. Well, after intense criticism most notably in neighboring Chicago, today, the oil company announced that it's reversing course.
From Chicago, NPR's David Schaper reports.
DAVID SCHAPER: Indiana granted a new water pollution permit for BP for the refinery expansion project back in June, allowing for dramatic increases in ammonia and suspended solids discharged into Lake Michigan. Environmentalists and politicians in neighboring Great Lake states, especially those a nearby Chicago, led protests, boycotts and circulated petitions opposing the pollution increase, and it appears to have worked.
BP spokesman Scott Dean.
Mr. SCOTT DEAN (Spokesman, British Petroleum Company): Well, what we have pledged today is to hold our water emissions from the Whiting plant flat with our old permitted water treatment levels.
SCHAPER: Dean says BP will work to find new technologies and processes to both expand the refinery and meet those pollution goals. But if that can't be done, it may scrap the $3.8 billion project. Chicago Congressman Rahm Emanuel says the reversal is good news for Lake Michigan.
Representative RAHM EMANUEL (Democrat, Illinois): That is our Grand Canyon. That is our Yellowstone Park. That is our National Park. It is not your dumping ground.
SCHAPER: Emanuel says he and others will continue legislative efforts to prohibit other companies from trying to increase discharges into the Great Lakes.
David Schaper, NPR News, Chicago.
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